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The security question

That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into

Well this is all a bit of a shambles isn’t it? The biggest, most high-profile event the UK has ever held starts next week and, oops, we haven’t got enough security guards for it.

The construction industry managed to finish the Olympic Park construction on-time and under Budget, although it’s not allowed to brag about that until such time as Locog (The London Olympic organising committee) decides it can.

So it rather begs the question, why couldn’t the world’s largest specialist security company, manage to do what it was paid to do and supply enough security personnel?

Listening to the news last night, it appears that it’s one of those stupid errors that simply underlines how reliant on technology we seem to have become.

The problem is that there has been a huge time lag between the time when many of those recruited were trained and registered and well, now. In that time, one chap told the BBC News, he has heard not a dickie-bird from G4S about when he would be required to work, nor where he might have to turn up. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

So, I ask you? Is it any surprise that so many of them seem to have disappeared from G4S’s radar and, er, found other employment elsewhere? No, dear reader, it isn’t.

Now any editor who’s ever had to employ freelance writers knows that the number one rule is to keep in touch with them, to keep them informed of what you want them to do and when you want them to do it or you risk them going to work for someone else.

And, I’d venture that any builder who’s ever had to employ subbies knows the same thing.

Those casual employees on G4S’s books who did try to get in contact to find out what was going on were, it seems, told to simply “wait for the email that will tell you when and where to turn up”. An email that many still haven’t received.

For all the faults with the ticketing process, Locog has sent me countless email updates about my tickets in the year since I bought them: about delivery, travel, timings, schedules.

Watching Nick Buckles squirming in front of the MPs and TV cameras yesterday was both entertaining and concerning because you just know that there’s some numpty in an office who designed the whole email-notification-only process and who is fiercely protective of his database and his system.

What a good job that the UK had loads of police and army personnel at its disposal to fill in the shortfall. What a good job we weren’t thinking of cutting any of those jobs. Oh.

Apparently, G4S (and, yes, this is the same company that accidentally lost a load of prisoners all those years ago) has decided that it will pull out of the bidding process for the World Cup in Brazil as it looks like it has some internal procedures to sort out first. If you’ll excuse the vernacular, no shit Sherlock.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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